It’s midnight and I can’t sleep.
The problem is not sugar plums dancing in my head.
It’s the cookies I haven’t made for tomorrow’s cookie exchange.
And the menus for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch.
What platters and bowls? Which serving utensils and glasses?
How many sticks of butter? Corn syrup, light or dark?
Is there enough time to order photo calendars for the relatives?
And so I look out the window, as if the answers are written in the night sky.
Houses have gone to sleep and it is quiet.
There is only a strand of colorful lights on a lonely tree in the distance, forgotten by a neighbor.
I stand alone with my feelings, overwhelmed by so much to do.
Then familiar words begin to creep into my restless mind.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
One phrase pricks my soul. The time came. The time came.
Whether or not I am prepared, Christmas comes, just as it came for Mary.
At that moment, the light of the Christmas star illumines my mind.
Is my heart prepared to encounter the coming of Christ?
For what if I make the fudge but miss the shepherds?
What if I polish the silver but miss the angel chorus?
And so, I slip quietly back to bed.
Snuggled beneath the covers, thoughts of cookies fade away.
In this midnight hour, the Christmas star has led me once again to God’s promise.
Christ is coming.